There are many ways by which I judge how quickly I am aging.
Here are just a few of my many criteria, in case you’re heading in that direction yourself.
Can I identify music created after I graduated from high school?
Do I still have all my own teeth?
Has the AARP sent me anything expressing concern regarding how well I’m planning for my retirement?
Do I see myself being attracted to the suspiciously frisky-looking “middle-aged” men touting the prescription drugs that have put the “fun” back in erectile dysfunction?
But I’ve come to recognize something else, something I’d not considered before but that seems to have dropped me into another demographic.
Don’t tell my parents, but I ordered labels yesterday.
What? A grown woman can’t order labels?! All the other adults get to order labels!
But like the disdain my mother has for the paper towel, I suspect she may harbor the same feelings for labels.
“What? You can’t write your own address? What are you, feeble? Gettin’ old, Pearl? Want me to do that for you?”
All right! All right! So I ordered address labels! It’s not like I bought disposable plastic cups or paper plates!
And yes, I could avoid all this by paying my bills on line, thus ending an era of bill-paying through the mail. I suspect that I am among the last of those paying by actually writing checks and mailing them anyway.
Problem is, I need to write it down. I need to subtract. I need to feel that I have more control over my money than I actually do.
And dagnab it, people, someone’s got to keep the mailmen working! I just cannot be responsible for packs of wild mailmen roaming our streets, slinging catalogs at stray dogs.
And I am happy with my labels. Why write your home address over and over when you can peel off a label?
But you know what comes with your labels?
Advertisements. Advertisements for more labels.
I find this peculiar. How could they not know that I am flush with labels, now that they’ve shipped me 500 of them?
Along with the labels that I ordered, I received the following:
• Twenty – yes, 20 – separate advertisements for more labels
• Three advertisements for personalized pet collars
• A ‘Love’s Journey” birthstone ring for only four easy payments of $24.75. As if these “easy payments” are not enough to entice you to buy jewelry by flyer, it comes with a “Certificate of Authenticity”. What, exactly, is authentic we have no way of knowing. Not the gemstones, which they assure us are “100% colored crystal”. Perhaps the authenticity refers to the fact that it’s a genuine ring and entirely circular?
• A chance for me to “display your love and support for our country and for those who serve it with our Military Emblem Address Labels and Mugs”. No where here does it mention any of the proceeds from your purchase going to an organization “supporting” the troops – so I’m not sure how drinking hot cocoa out of an Air Force mug will help the troops – but okay! If you’re sure! Oooh, and look here. I can have it personalized. The product shown is made out for “Col. Thomas Lancaster”. I’ve wanted to be a high-ranking military person ever since I first saw this flyer. “Staff Sergeant Pearl”. What do you think? It says “I’m stern, but I’m fun”. No? What about “World’s Greatest General”?
• And, of course, the piece de resistance, an offer from the AARP for $15,000 in life insurance once I hit 50. Apparently there’s “no obligation”, which is kind of a relief. Whew!
I feel vaguely threatened by these flyers, although I can’t exactly put my finger on the “why” of it.
All I wanted were address labels. And now, I’m faced with thoughts of stray pets, genuinely authentic rings, the military finding out that I haven’t supported them through the purchase of a personalized coffee mug, and my own mortality.
Sheesh but life’s complicated, isn’t it?
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